One my favorite pasttimes these days is pondering the kind of writing advice that can actually hurt writers—usually by becoming a cliche, without offering a deep understanding of a complex issue.
Here’s an excellent cliche explained and presented by Lee Martin, in the most recent Glimmer Train bulletin:
“Make it memorable,” the editor of a respected literary journal told me when he came to visit Arkansas and to critique student manuscripts. That was the thing that made a story jump out of the slush pile and onto the pages of a lit journal. Something memorable that just wouldn’t get out of a reader’s head.
My problem was I thought the memorable was only located in the plot. I’d yet to learn to appreciate the more subtle shadings of characters as they created and then moved through the intricacies of their lives. I needed to be paying less attention to what happened and more attention to the characters involved.
Go read the entire piece, “Make It Memorable.”